Rio Tinto STARTs transparency campaign
The first aluminum sustainability label using blockchain tech Metal Tech News – February 10, 2021
Last updated 2/16/2021 at 5:11pm
Metals and mining giant Rio Tinto has begun a campaign of transparency and traceability for the aluminum industry with the launch of START, a blockchain-powered "nutrition label" for responsible aluminum.
In the growing metals, minerals and rare earths market for all your favorite electronic gadgets and gizmos, the demand for ethically sourced materials has grown as well. With a world of information at their fingertips, smart consumers have begun to explore the trail of materials for their preferred products – and many have found unpleasant truths.
This ease of information at the clacks of a keyboard has pressed mining and manufacturing companies to begin estimating the influence their consumers have toward their products by something the world may soon become familiar with – environmental, social and corporate governance standards or ESG standards.
Taking transparency a step further, Rio Tinto has launched an ESG label for aluminum that is reminiscent of Energy Star, a familiar label that offers consumers a credible rating of the power efficiency in everyday products.
Aiming to empower end-users to make informed choices about the products they buy, this will enable individuals to contribute to a sustainable future and to differentiate between end products based on these ESG standards.
With the new START sustainability labels, Rio Tinto will begin utilizing blockchain technology, a secure and transparent centralized ledger system that shows the beginning and end of every part of any product involved in the 'chain' of production to purchase.
This means that all key information about the site where aluminum was produced - carbon footprint, water use, recycled content, energy sources, community investment, safety performance, diversity in leadership, business integrity, regulatory compliance and transparency – will all be at the perusal of any curious consumer or customer.
You can read more about blockchain technology at Blockchain provides mining accountability in the January 22, 2020 edition of Metal Tech News.
"START is a significant step forward for the aluminum industry as the first offering of this kind, setting a standard on transparency, traceability and responsible production from mine to market," said Rio Tinto Aluminum Chief Executive Alf Barrios. "Our vision is that our customers can showcase the sustainability of the aluminum they purchase from Rio Tinto to their consumers, delivering full value from our responsible production."
With the transparency of responsibly sourced aluminum from a titan of industry as Rio Tinto, it can be predicted that many others may follow suit, whether it be by utilizing blockchain technology or other methods that provide visibility and accountability.
Through START, Rio Tinto plans to also provide technical expertise through a sustainability advisory service and support for customers looking to build their own sustainability offerings and benchmarks to support sourcing goals and access green financing.
Perhaps it will not be too long in the future that START or other ESG standards labels will be displayed alongside that Energy Star rating on your favorite products. Informed and conscientious consumers should expect to keep an eye out for these markers to help them help the planet by bringing awareness to the where and how of raw materials sourced for their favorite goods.